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and large boulders, a few of which are also on its slopes; the hollows under their sides formed shelters which were improved for the occupation of the monks who took up their residence in them.
There are two other low hills to the south of it, called respectively Tēvāṇḍān Puliyankulam Malei, and Erupotāna-kanda, the three being nearly in a line about one and a half miles long. Erupotāna-kanda is a hill somewhat like Nirāvi Malei, but bigher, with numerous large boulders on its slopes. The other hill is formed by an immense steep-sided rock, with a high vertical precipice to the east, and a gradual ascent on the north and south-west sides. There are large boulders on its top, which extends in a long north and south line.
On the detached boulders which are scattered about all three hills numerous cave inscriptions are cut, which indicate that this little known part of the island was once the residence of a large community of Buddhist monks. When we seek to learn why such a site should have been selected for cutting what must have been at the time some of the earliest inscriptions in the island, it is found that the explanation seems to lie in the fact that this place was on the line of an early highroad leading from the capital, Anuradhapura, nearly due north-east to the port from which vessels sailed for the eastern coast of India. It is not surprising to find that some of the earliest monasteries were established on this well-known line of communications. The numerous cave shelters and the traditional associations of the Naval Nīrāvi site caused it to be chosen for perhaps the most important of them. At other rocky hills near the same line there are either early inscriptions or other Buddhist remains; while numerous fragments of an early type of pottery and the early coins found at Mulleittivu, on the north-east coast, and described in another chapter, prove that this town also was a pre-Christian settlement.
Of the inscription in question fortunately no less than three copies were cut, each over the entrance of a different rockshelter, or cave, that had been cleared out and prepared for the occupation of the ascetic monks to whose use it was made As is seen in other caves that have been used for this
purpose down to the present day, the inside was doubtless whitewashed, or even plastered, and a brick or mud wall was built so as to form a protected or enclosed room under the shelter of the rock. At two of the caves a deep cut, termed a kaṭāra, was also made along the rock, above the front of the cave, and for a short distance below this the face of the stone was cut away, as is usual in nearly all such cases, in order to prevent the rain-water that trickled down the front of the upper part of the rock from entering the room. The cave inscriptions are almost always found in this dressed face of the rock, and two of these are also cut in it, each in a single line.
Two copies are cut over caves or recesses at the north side (No. 2) and south side (No. 3) of the same rock, a large block standing on the top of the Nāval Nirāvi hill. Fragments of bricks found at them are of three sizes, 3.10 inches, 2.55 inches, and 2-10 inches thick, indicating the use of the caves and the repair of the brickwork from some pre-Christian date down to the tenth or twelfth century A.D. The third copy (No. 1) is in a similar position at a cave to the north of the last. Fragments of brick 3 inches thick lie in this cave, which was therefore also occupied in pre-Christian times.
The inscription which I have numbered (1) was discovered on a visit that I paid to the hills in 1886 with Mr. G. M. Fowler, who was then the Assistant Government Agent of the district; the other two were found by him on a second examination which he made of the hill in 1887. The hills had been explored some years before our visit by Mr. S. Haughton of the Civil Service, who first drew my attention to the fact that inscriptions were cut at them. He copied a few himself, but was not so fortunate as to discover these earliest ones. I am indebted to him and to Mr. Fowler for copies of all the inscriptions found by them. I have not acknowledged each one separately as I recopied all but one short one myself on subsequent visits.
All the copies of the first inscription made by us were incomplete, owing in two cases to the flaking of the rock, which had destroyed the latter portion of the inscriptions (1)
and (3), this last being cut in the natural face of the rock; and in the other case to the rather faint characters, which were at some height from the ground. At a later date, in 1901, I succeeded in copying these by using a rough ladder in order to reach them.
I give facsimiles of all three from my hand copies, arranged one under the other. The inscription No. 1 is twelve feet long to the point where the stone has given way, and the letters are three inches high. No 2 is fifteen feet long, with letters from two to three inches high, cut about a quarter of an inch deep. No. 3 is fourteen feet long as far as portions of the letters remain, and its full length has been about fifteen feet; the letters in it are four inches high and are a quarter of an inch deep.
(The e of loke is accidentally missing in the copy.) The complete inscription is as follows 1:
Raja Naga jita Raja Uti jaya Abi Anuradi ca Raja Uti ca karapitase ima leņa catu disasa sagaya agatagata na Pasu wiharaye aparim (i)ta loke ditu yasa tana.
Abhi Anuradhi, the wife (of) King Uttiya (and) daughter (of) King Naga, and King Uttiya have caused this cave to be made for the Community of the four quarters, present or future, at the Pāsu wihāra, an illustrious famous place in the boundless world.
In addition to its age, there are several points of interest in connection with this inscription, the date of which belongs to about the middle of the second half of the third century B.C. In the first place, it confirms the statement of the early annals that King Mahā-Nāga ruled over southern Ceylon with the
In this and other transliterations and names the letter c is pronounced like ch, as in 'church'; the vowels a, i, and e have the continental sound; u is pronounced as in 'gun'; ae represents the sound given to this diphthong in the New Historical Dictionary; t. d, n are hard as in 'dot' and 'ton'; is like in 'full'; g is always hard as in 'gun'; t and d are distinctly dental; s is very soft, approaching h; the other letters are pronounced as in English.